Talk:Success Academy Charter Schools

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Archives[edit]

Talk:Success Academy Charter Schools/Archive 1 is the archive of the original article talk page. User talk:Canoe1967/Success Academy Charter Schools is the talk page following that.--Canoe1967 (talk) 16:55, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Old talk page[edit]

The article and talk page history for this article should probably be restored. If an editor is causing a disruption or reverting to prior versions that are against consensus they can be blocked. Candleabracadabra (talk) 23:22, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

There is a copy at: User talk:Canoe1967/Success Academy Charter Schools. The one archive I don't see though.--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:29, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
The archive is at Talk:Success Academy Charter Schools/Archive 1. If it should be moved, apparently I can move it, but probably someone else should. I am treating the result of AfD as a new consensus on the article. Nick Levinson (talk) 16:41, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Request for discussion of revisions to Success Academy article[edit]

Hello. I’m opening this section in hopes of revising the article on Success Academy Charter Schools to fix some factual errors and provide a broader, more balanced entry overall. Full disclosure: I am an employee of Success Academy; my background is in journalism, including 24 years at the New York Daily News, where I worked as a copy editor, copy desk chief and editorial writer and, with two colleagues, won a Pulitzer Prize. I was also a New York City public school parent for 17 years. I fully understand and respect Wikipedia’s guidelines on conflict of interest and neutral point of view; am raising these issues in this forum in hopes of collaboratively producing an article that will better serve all readers.


The section titled “Disciplinary controversy” contains a factual error. It says, “Success Academy was found to have much higher rates of child suspension than neighborhood public schools.[6] According to one advocacy group, a follow up study obtained through the Freedom of Information Law revealed that the vast majority of city charter school disciplinary policies violated state or federal law.[7]”

The advocacy group, Advocates for Children, did not FOIL a study; the group FOILed data from various charter schools and then produced the study based on that information. As written, the entry implies that Advocates for Children uncovered a secret report that demonstrated violations of state or federal law. That is simply not the case. In addition, the Advocates for Children study does not back up the contention that the “vast majority of city charter school disciplinary policies violated state or federal law.” Also, since the study does not single out any charter schools by name, the implication that Success Academy violated state law is not supported by the source material. (Side note: Juan Gonzalez, who wrote about suspension rates for the Daily News, spells his last name with a Z rather than an S).

The section titled “Techniques” seems largely drawn from Kate Taylor’s New York Times story dated April 6, 2015. While such a significant piece of journalism clearly carries weight, adding further citations from that story and others would provide a more rounded picture and avoid the appearance of cherry-picking.

For example, the Wikipedia article says, in part, “Discipline, social pressure, positive reinforcement, and suspension are applied to the students. Parents are called in if a student has problems or is disruptive. There is a remedial program, "effort academy," which is used freely. Ample school supplies are provided.”

But The Times’ story goes on: “Ms. Moskowitz and a number of her teachers saw the network’s exacting approach in a different way: as putting their students on the same college track as children in wealthier neighborhoods who had better schools and money for extra help.”

Noting the reason for Success Academy’s policies – that they are necessary to help disadvantaged children achieve at the same level as their wealthier peers – would add some needed perspective to the article. Success Academy students -- 92% of whom are black or Latino and 70% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch -- consistently place in the top 1% in math, top 3% in English and top 2% in science statewide. In the 2015 state test results released just two weeks ago, 5 of the top 10 schools in math in New York State were Success Academy schools (statistics available from the New York State Education Department).

For a contrasting view of Success Academy and its methods, may I suggest “What Explains Success at Success Academy?” the cover story in the Spring 2015 edition of Education Next, a publication of the Hoover Institution and Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. Like Kate Taylor, author Charles Sahm, a policy director at Manhattan Institute, visited several Success Academy schools and interviewed dozens of teachers. His conclusions, while not without criticisms, offer a significantly different portrait of Success Academy schools:

“Detractors suggest that Success is a test-prep factory where students are constantly drilled in English and math; but that’s not what I saw. I toured a Success middle school in Harlem during a 90-minute “flex” period. In one room, the chess team prepared for the national tournament; in another, students worked on the school newspaper; down the hall, students rehearsed a musical; in other rooms, students worked on art projects or learned computer coding. Success’s debate and chess teams have begun to win national awards.”

http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network/

Lastly, as of this week, Success Academy operates 34 schools, not 32.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Bev at Success Academy (talk) 20:09, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Bev, for your detailed review and explanations of possible inaccuracies in the article. Please take a moment to post your suggested drafts here, and after review I will either post them for you into the article or let you go ahead and do it yourself. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Bev, for your detailed review and explanations of possible inaccuracies in the article. Please take a moment to post your suggested drafts here, and after review I will either post them for you into the article or let you go ahead and do it yourself. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, Kudpung กุดผึ้ง. Here are my initial suggestions/edits:

Suggested edits for "Techniques" section:

Discipline, social pressure, positive reinforcement, and suspension are applied to the students. Success Academy views these policies as necessary to provide safe, orderly environments for learning and believes schools should not allow one child to freely disrupt learning for all others. Schools maintain close contact with parents, both to reinforce and reward hard work and to address problems or disruptions in class. There is a remedial program, "effort academy," which is used freely. Teachers are not bound by a union contract and frequently spend extra time with students whose parents request help. Ample school supplies are provided. Teachers are monitored closely, given support and feedback, and rewarded with opportunities for career growth for better student performance. Teachers can advance to become mentors, curriculum leaders or assistant principals. Teachers whose students perform poorly may be demoted to teaching assistant or removed from the classroom and limited to tutoring if their performance does not improve. Due to public school students being too far behind to catch up to Success Academy students, no new students above the fourth grade are accepted.[5]

Success Academy’s curriculum is aligned with the Common Core and emphasizes content. Students spend two hours a day reading independently, engaging in small-group reading instruction, reading challenging books with teacher help, listening to the teacher read aloud and discussing the main ideas, or closely reading short texts and examining central meaning and literary techniques. Children in K-8 have daily writing workshops. Math instruction in the early grades focuses on honing arithmetic skills; students are encouraged to come up with their own strategies for solving mathematical word problems. Science is taught five days a week beginning in kindergarten, and children do project-based learning units on such subjects as the American Revolution and the Brooklyn Bridge. Students study chess in class and compete in chess and debate. There are also classes in music, art, journalism and computer coding:http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network

Author is "education policy director at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research," a conservative think tank. User:Fred Bauder Talk 08:19, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Regarding the section titled "Disciplinary Controversy," I suggest deleting the second sentence as factually incorrect, misleading and irrelevant. The sentence implies that the advocacy group, Advocates for Children, uncovered a secret report through a FOIL request that demonstrated violations of state or federal law. That is not the case. Advocates for Children did not FOIL a study; it FOILed data from various charter schools and then produced the study based on that information. Nowhere in the study does Advocates for Children back up its contention that the “vast majority of city charter school disciplinary policies violated state or federal law”; in fact, in a footnote, it notes that charter schools “are exempt from most state and local laws,” and New York State law requires only that charter schools meet the same requirements as other public schools in the areas of health and safety, civil rights and student assessments.

Since the study draws only broad conclusions about the charter sector in general and does not single out any charter school by name, the implication that Success Academy violated state law is not supported by the source material. Juxtaposing this sentence with the previous one, however, unfairly implies that Success Academy is in violation of the law. If the study had relevance to specific charter schools, one would expect to find it included in Wikipedia entries for other large New York City charter networks, such as Uncommon Schools and Achievement First, but Wikipedia does not reference it in either of those entries. The fact that it appears only in the Success Academy entry gives it undue weight and is prejudicial. Perhaps it belongs in the general entry on charter schools; it does not belong on the Success Academy page.


If you believe that it should stay on the page, I would ask that it be changed to a footnote on the sentence referencing Juan Gonzalez’s Daily News story:

A study by one advocacy group, Advocates for Children, concluded that many New York City charter school disciplinary policies violate state and federal law; however, the report does not name any specific charter schools and notes that charter schools are exempt from most state and local laws.

Barring that, I would suggest editing the existing paragraph:

Success Academy was found to have much higher rates of child suspension than neighborhood public schools.[6] A study by one advocacy group, Advocates for Children, concluded that many New York City charter school disciplinary policies violate state and federal law; the report does not name any specific charter schools and notes that charter schools are exempt from most state and local laws.[7]


Finally, Success Academy now operates 34 schools, rather than 32, as stated in the opening sentence of the entry. And, Juan Gonzalez spells his last name with a Z, rather than an S.


Please let me know how you'd like to proceed. Thank you. Bev at Success Academy (talk) 15:02, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


I see that the number of Success Academy school has been changed. Thank you for that. Has there been any discussion/consideration of my other proposed revisions? Bev at Success Academy (talk) 21:20, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

I am the author of the techniques section, which, correctly, is a summary of the NYT's article. You say, "Noting the reason for Success Academy’s policies – that they are necessary to help disadvantaged children achieve at the same level as their wealthier peers." Fine, but what is the source for such a fact? That is not a fair request. In a sane world schools of education would have done research on this question and there would be published journal articles on this matter. User:Fred Bauder Talk 07:20, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
From the article, http://educationnext.org/the-elephant-in-the-classroom/ "...white, upper-middle-class families prefer a progressive and discursive style of interaction with their children, both at home and in school, and lower-income, nonwhite families prefer a traditional or authoritarian style of interaction with their children in these same venues." Again, no reference, no way of telling what is true or fact based. However, there is a disconnect, if a "progressive and discursive style of interaction with their children" works for middle-class kids (if, in fact, it does) why would it not work for poor kids? An "authoritarian style of interaction" hardly prepares a student for a prep school or an elite college, or for many work environments. User:Fred Bauder Talk 07:33, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
The "pattern of concerted cultivation" as in Unequal Childhoods would seem to apply to the Success Academy Model, but no source for that. User:Fred Bauder Talk 08:01, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Scope of the article(see above)[edit]

This article was deleted not so long ago at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Success Academy Charter Schools. The deletion discussion should be read carefully by anyone who may wish to make any edits that go beyond simple prose, format, or typo corrections. Due to the reason for deletion, its recreation by a blocked account that was part of an industrial-stregth sockpuppetry and the correctly declared Conflict of interest of some contributors, this article has been semi protected. All editors please understand that intricate details, philosophies/missions, non-neutrally expessed exam pass rates, etc., and any other promotional content however borderline, do not belong in school articles, especially any content that can easily be accessed at the establishment's web site or on its prospectus or other published material about itself See: WP:WPSCH/AG for guidance. All recent conributors have been a sent a tb to this talk page. I am also repeating this message at WT:WPSCH. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:10, 25 September 2015 (UTC)


As I had a substantial role in the deletion of the original article, now at User:Canoe1967/Success Academy Charter Schools (where, btw, it cannot be allowed to remain--we do not maintain deleted content in user space beyond the period necessary for reworking it), I'm willing to help deal with this. I completely agree that some parts of the article are altogether too negative. I'm checking details, the easier ones first:
(1) Ref 7 does indeed not name any of the schools, and there is no way of knowing from it whether this group of schools is among the majority of schools that violate the required legal safeguards (the article, btw, does indeed show that most NYC charter schools do violate one or more of them) It is however a very useful report, and I suggest that we use the proposed paragraph as an external link, not a reference, with the wording suggest, but expanding the "exempt from most state and local laws." to include the key except for health safety, civil rights, and evaluation." (what the report discusses is in fact the civil rights problems) . However, if anyone can find a reliable reference to whether these schools did or did not meet it at the time of the report, or whether they did not meet it but have now corrected it, this can be sued. In that case, it might go into the text. with the appropriate wording.
(2) I have some problems with the proposed techniques section. It's not really worded neutrally--some of it is written to justify the techniques as much as to explain them. I'll work on a rewording. The material on the emphasis on testing must be included; it's characteristic of this school (and many other charter schools, and regular US public schools also). The NYT articles is a reliable source, but the quote needs to be shortened--it's written a little too sensationally for an encycopedia. I'll work on that also.
(3) I'm not sure whether the section above "Noting the reason for Success Academy’s policies – that they are necessary to help disadvantaged children achieve at the same level as their wealthier peers – would add some needed perspective to the article. Success Academy students -- 92% of whom are black or Latino and 70% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch -- consistently place in the top 1% in math, top 3% in English and top 2% in science statewide. In the 2015 state test results released just two weeks ago, 5 of the top 10 schools in math in New York State were Success Academy schools (statistics available from the New York State Education Department). " is being proposed for insertion. Some of it could be used. The last sentence in particular could be used if there's an exact reference available. We would probably want to include other subjects than math. But "Success Academy students -- 92% of whom are black or Latino and 70% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch -- consistently place in the top 1% in math, top 3% in English and top 2% in science statewide" is unclear to me: I doubt it means that every student at the schools places in these percentages, more likely it means that the students do overall in greater proportion than the average. In that case, we need a number:e.g. 5% of the students place in the top 3%.... And , of course, we need an exact reference.

I'll look here for a response. DGG ( talk ) 02:16, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

If, and when, graduates of these schools do well at elite colleges, or in the workplace, as compared to graduates of public and other charter or private schools, a much more detailed article will be justified. Simply being able to achieve high test scores, without a real-world track record of accomplishment, and being highly controversial is not enough. User:Fred Bauder Talk 08:54, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

POV[edit]

A lot of POV claims and statements are made in this article, for seemingly no good reason, and none of them seem to be backed up by citations. Softlavender (talk) 07:05, 25 September 2015 (UTC): ETA: In my opinion, the POV tag I added can be removed when those various POV (pro and con) statements have either been deleted or have been backed up by incontrovertible WP:RS citations. PS: There seems to also be a fair amount of WP:OR in this article. Softlavender (talk) 07:08, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

UPDATE: OK, I've removed the tags I had placed at the top -- the walls of text with only a single citation were misleading and had at first glance seemed like COI puffery. Softlavender (talk) 11:35, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Why[edit]

Before I began editing the article this was one of two sections and was, and remains, the main basis for notability of the subject. User:Fred Bauder Talk 14:12, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Image placement[edit]

Right now, the image placement violates MOS:SANDWICH and WP:IMGLOC: "Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other, and between an image and an infobox or similar.". Something needs to be moved, removed, or resized. If the two current images are retained, I suggest stacking them on the right (for instance, under the infobox), making them the same width, and removing a lot of the text in the caption of the Washington Heights school and placing that information in the body text rather than in the caption per WP:MOSIM and MOS:IMAGES. -- Softlavender (talk) 04:22, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

The two images are not sandwiching on my screen, they're plenty of space for text, which is not being squeezed. About 75% of our articles have an image on the left with an infobox on the right, so if any MOS guideline says that is incorrect, it doesn't reflect reality. I suggest the images are just fine the way they are. BMK (talk) 04:26, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
I've checked two browsers and two skins on my computer, and the text sandwiches between the current top image and the long infobox. If no one else wants to conform the image placements and captions to policy, I'll do that myself, no problem. Softlavender (talk) 04:36, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
If you do, I will revert you. MOS is not policy, it's not mandatory, and edit warring to enforce it has been ruled by ArbCom to be out of bounds. The article is fine, it looks fine, there is no problem. Do not make problems where there are none, please. BMK (talk) 04:49, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Please stop this remarkably silly discussion and return to improving the article. BMK (talk) 04:55, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yeah, it is silly, but it's also messy on older monitors, and the difference between the caption-lengths creates a lot of off ugly whitespace. Since infobox:school supports both images and logos, I thought I'd try adding one there, but it might be taken as implying that Harlem one is the school, instead of one of 30-some schools. If anyone prefers it the way it was, I'm not going to fight restoring the side-by-side images. However, if multiple images cannot comfortably fit, then we shouldn't be reluctant to just remove one of the images. We don't absolutely need multiple images, after all. Grayfell (talk) 00:45, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

POV and tone[edit]

I'm not a fan of charter schools, and yet this passage from the article sounds biased and pejorative even to me:

"Teaching at the schools is stressful and demanding. Teachers work 11-hour days, which is almost impossible for teachers with children of their own; according to founder Eva Moskowitz some teachers and principals are allowed to work part-time."

Additionally, I'm not sure how the part after the semicolon connects to the rest of the sentence — if teachers are working long hours, then when are they free to work part-time? --Tenebrae (talk) 03:28, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

I had fixed the semi-colon issue but it got reverted (perhaps accidentally); I have again split the sentences into two. All of the info is cited and well-documented by the citation; if anything, we're underplaying the information in the NYT article. Softlavender (talk) 03:35, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I guess. It's just that from my own family members who are public-school teachers, I gather than teaching anywhere is stressful and demanding, so I'm not sure what's different here. It just seems that removing the first sentence, which contains unquantifiable terms, and starting with the second sentence, which has a numerical and a chronological fact without embellishment, might make this seem more dispassionate and neutral. --Tenebrae (talk) 03:58, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I re-read the NYT article again, and have re-worded that sentence accordingly. Softlavender (talk) 04:18, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

More request revisions to entry[edit]

Good afternoon

I would like to request several corrections and to suggest some updates to the Success Academy page.

First, the corrections: Success Academy has 11,000 students, not 9,000 as stated in the first graf of the History section; charter schools in New York are public, not private as stated in the second graf of that section (the status is stated correctly in the info box on the right side of the page); Success Academy is now K-10 (update needed in the info box).

I would suggest that the sentences "Teachers are monitored closely and rewarded for better student performance. Teachers whose students perform poorly may be demoted to teaching assistant or removed from the classroom and limited to tutoring if their performance does not improve" (currently under Teaching Methods) and "There is rapid promotion for teachers whose students' performance excels" (currently under Teacher Experience) be juxtaposed.


A few updates:

In September, Success Academy Harlem 3 was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, an award given to just seven schools in New York City and 285 public schools across the country this year. [1]

In October, Success Academy was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education under a program to expand high-quality charter schools [2]

A study by the University of Pennsylvania compared Success Academy students with peers who entered the admissions lottery but did not get into the school and found Success Academy made a huge difference academically [3]

A story by WNYC found that Success Academy's student attrition rate is 10.3%, vs. 13% citywide [4] (I'm not sure if this counts as original research because the reporter linked to spreadsheets containing the data.).


I offer these additional sources in hopes, again, of creating a more balanced and accurate entry, because regrettably, the post remains one-sided and overwhelmingly negative. It continues to rely heavily on a single source and, in fact, contains more citations to that source than it did a month ago (10 vs. 7). That report is an extraordinarily negative portrayal, based largely on interviews with disgruntled former employees and anonymous sources.

However, even relatively positive comments from that New York Times story, including one that I previously asked to have included in the post, do not appear.

For example, the Wikipedia article says, in part, “Discipline, social pressure, positive reinforcement, and suspension are applied to the students. Parents are called in if a student has problems or is disruptive. There is a remedial program, "effort academy," which is used freely. Ample school supplies are provided.”

But The Times’ story goes on: “Ms. Moskowitz and a number of her teachers saw the network’s exacting approach in a different way: as putting their students on the same college track as children in wealthier neighborhoods who had better schools and money for extra help.”

I would ask again that this sentence be added for balance.

Similarly, the Teaching Methods section could be broadened with information from this quote from the Times story: "Success Academy schools are also rich in the kind of extracurricular activities that have increasingly been cut from public schools, such as art, music, chess, theater, dance, basketball and swimming."

This sentence would round out the picture in the Teacher Experience section: "Teachers who do well can expect quick promotions, with some becoming principals while still in their 20s. Teachers who struggle can expect coaching or, if that does not help, possible demotion."

Noting, as the entry does, that "ample school supplies are provided" makes no sense without the context, provided in the Times story, that public school teachers "often have to use their own money for basics like photocopies."

On the other hand, these newly added sentences are gratuitous: 'Halley Potter, who studies charter schools at the Century Foundation, said that the conclusions that can be made from tests are limited. "Success Academy’s strong test scores tell us that they have a strong model for producing good test scores", she said.' This passage says nothing about Success Academy's methods and does not provide context; it merely disparages student performance without explaining why and serves to cast a negative light on an otherwise neutral rendering of accepted statistics. I would ask that the passage be deleted.


I previously asked that the editors consider other sources of information about Success Academy, including “What Explains Success at Success Academy?” the cover story in the Spring 2015 edition of Education Next, a publication of the Hoover Institution and Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. Like the Times reporter, author Charles Sahm, a policy director at Manhattan Institute, visited several Success Academy schools and interviewed dozens of teachers. His conclusions, while not without criticisms, offer a significantly different portrait of Success Academy schools:

“Detractors suggest that Success is a test-prep factory where students are constantly drilled in English and math; but that’s not what I saw. I toured a Success middle school in Harlem during a 90-minute “flex” period. In one room, the chess team prepared for the national tournament; in another, students worked on the school newspaper; down the hall, students rehearsed a musical; in other rooms, students worked on art projects or learned computer coding. Success’s debate and chess teams have begun to win national awards.” [5]

My suggestion was dismissed on the grounds that the author is the education policy director for a conservative think tank. I would argue that his political leanings – all reporters have them; he just happens to be more transparent about his – should not make him any less credible an observer, and that his report, which appears in a well respected academic publication, should be considered for inclusion in the post.

Again, I would like to note, in the interest of promoting transparency and avoiding conflict of interest, that I have not made any changes to the entry myself. Rather, as Kudpung กุดผึ้ง suggested, I am bringing these concerns and suggestions to you in hopes of creating a more balanced entry that will better serve the readers.

Bev at Success Academy (talk) 22:33, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

References

Thanks for taking this to talk instead of making the edit yourself. To be blunt, most of the proposed changes are far too promotional. Please review WP:PEACOCK. It's bad form to include uninformative-but-positive comments, and that also applies to direct quotes that lack clear context. Phrases such as "rich in..." and "made a huge difference" are fundamentally not neutral.
National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a noteworthy award, so I'll add that, but the stuff about "just seven schools" is editorializing. The other updates don't seem noteworthy. A school getting a grant is far too routine to be worth mentioning, and the phrasing only serves to promote. The UPenn study needs a substantial, secondary source summarizing it's findings.
Political slant aside, the New York Times is a widely known general audience newspaper. There is no lack of info and options for people who want to understand where NYT articles are coming from. The fact that the NYT is quoting someone from the Century Foundation is an argument that the quote is significant. The same isn't true for EducationNext, which is a smaller, much more specifically focused source with a narrower agenda. I'm somewhat familiar with the magazine, and I'm not really convinced that it's a reliable source, actually. Regardless, any comments coming from that would at least need to be contextualized as coming from a specific POV. The same goes for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, but in both cases, I don't see this rising to the level of due weight without reliable secondary coverage of these opinions.
"Teachers who do well can expect quick promotions..." This is either mundane enough that it doesn't need to be mentioned at all, or the metrics by which teachers are measured (and what being promoted entails) needs to be more clearly explained, which seems like too much trivial detail. This is a subtle and understandable form of WP:WEASEL, but it's still a weasel. Grayfell (talk) 23:47, 24 November 2015 (UTC)



I am having trouble understanding the reasoning behind the editing on this page. There continue to be a number of errors in the article. I recognize that Wiki editors are wary of self-serving changes, but as a former newspaper writer and editor, I can assure you that my goal here is accuracy and balance.

Success Academy has been controversial since its birth, primarily because its founder, Eva Moskowitz, has been a thorn in the side of the teachers union since she began her hearings and investigations as head of the NYC Council’s education committee. This is well documented in Wikipedia and elsewhere, and much of the criticism aimed at Success is from groups and individuals who are aligned with the United Federation of Teachers. While the April 2015 New York Times article currently is the primary source for the Success Academy entry, I think it will be helpful for the editors to read another New York Times article, from the Magazine, which provides better context for the two sides. [1]

As someone who served for many years as a New York City journalist, and as a 17-year public school parent, I can tell you that the city’s public education system is shockingly dysfunctional and that poor minority children living in the city’s worst neighborhoods are stuck in schools that are far inferior academically to those in better neighborhoods [2]. Whether one blames City Hall, the union, or the parents, black and Latino children fall far behind their white and Asian peers in the city’s traditional public schools.

This is the primary reason that charter schools like Success Academy are in such demand.

That’s background for your information; I’m not expecting you to incorporate it into the Success article. However, in the interest of accuracy, I respectfully point out the following errors:

I have asked twice for the number of students to be updated from 9,000 to 11,000[3]; this has not been done.

I have asked that the grades in the school be updated from K-9 to K-10[4]; this has not been done.

In the second paragraph, under “History,” the statement that Mayor de Blasio “decided to stop the city's former policy of providing free space in public school buildings to semi-private charter schools” is incorrect. The mayor did not decide stop what is known as co-location, or sharing of space in public school buildings. His decision affected Success Academy specifically. Many other schools were given space, and in fact the mayor has continued to provide space to charter schools, including Success Academy, since that time. To be factually correct, the sentence should read: “In February 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to reverse a decision made in October 2013 under the previous administration that provided free space in public school buildings for three Success Academy charter schools.[5] [6]

Previously, I asked for the erroneous description of charter schools as “private” in the second paragraph of the “History” section to be changed to “public,” which is how they are categorized under New York State Education Law. Instead, the description was changed to “semi-private,” a designation that does not exist. The description of New York State charter schools in the information box is correct: “School type: Public charter with public & private funds.” [7]

According to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, “Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published sources, making sure that all majority and significant minority views that have appeared in those sources are covered.” [8] (emphasis not mine)

According to unofficial guidance and advice for editors, “In the context of editing an article, cherrypicking, in a negative sense, means selecting information without including contradictory or significant qualifying information from the same source and consequently misrepresenting what the source says.” “Cherry-picking" a source is selecting only the information favourable to an editor's point of view for an article.” [9]

Yet my requests for inclusion of balancing language in the face of the overwhelmingly negative excerpts taken from the April 2015 New York Times story, which is the primary source for the article, were rejected as too promotional, mundane or uninformative.

For example, I asked that this sentence from the Times story be added to balance the article’s emphasis on Success Academy as a harsh, test-heavy environment: "Success Academy schools are also rich in the kind of extracurricular activities that have increasingly been cut from public schools, such as art, music, chess, theater, dance, basketball and swimming." My suggestion was disregarded on the grounds that the phrase “rich in” (the Times’ wording) is not neutral. Neutrality aside, those two words should not be enough to discredit the substance of a sentence that presents a fuller picture of the curriculum.

I also suggested moving one of the few positive statements quoted from the Times story —"There is rapid promotion for teachers whose students' performance excels"—into the “Teaching Methods” section, next to a sentence about teachers being demoted if student performance does not improve. Not only wasn’t the sentence moved, it was deleted altogether.

Why? This is how those facts are put forth in the Times story: “Teachers who do well can expect quick promotions, with some becoming principals while still in their 20s. Teachers who struggle can expect coaching or, if that does not help, possible demotion.”

That is an accurate statement of fact in an article that was on the whole rather negative. But in Wikipedia, which, according to its policies and guidelines, “aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject,” [10] those competing views are now not represented at all.

Or take this sentence: “Most of the former teachers interviewed by the Times said they quit because they disagreed with Success' punitive approach to students, and not because of the heavy workload.”

The original text from the New York Times was different: “Most of the former teachers interviewed, however, said that they left not because of the workload, but because they disagreed with Success’s approach, which they found punitive.” (emphasis mine) This change by the Wiki editors takes what the New York Times reported to be an opinion held by some teachers and puts it forth as a fact. This would seem to be editorializing. Wikipedia’s rendering puts Success Academy practices into an even more pejorative light than the Times story does.

My suggestion that the editors consider an alternate view, Charles Sahm’s “What Explains Success at Success Academy” in Education Next, [11] was rejected on the grounds that the author is education policy director at “a conservative think tank” and that one editor is “not really convinced” that Education Next—a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Harvard and Stanford universities—is a reliable source. Why should any researcher or observer be disqualified on the basis of her or her political affiliation? How does Education Next not fit Wikipedia’s definition of a reliable, verifiable source: “If available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science”? [12]

In fact, many respected journalists, including Errol Louis, [13] have looked at how well Success kids are doing in comparison to other NYC minority children and found the results impressive, even though we don’t yet have students who are old enough to be applying to college.

I still hope Wikipedia can produce an entry that provides a true picture of what Success Academy is and is not. I’m not interested in promoting Success Academy in Wikipedia; that’s not what it is for. I just want Success Academy to be fairly represented.

So, as requested, I am providing links to some other sources. They are not all complimentary, by any means, but they provide a more complete picture. In addition to those mentioned above, there is one from Fortune magazine (which notes that for their hard work, Success Academy teachers are paid about 30% more than their counterparts in traditional public schools), [14] another from the New York Daily News discussing attrition rates (with a link to a statistical analysis) [15] and one from Reason.com with a statistical analysis of Success Academy’s test scores. [16]

I again ask the editors to consider my suggested additions and edits in the interests of providing an accurate article for Wikipedia readers.

Also, I would appreciate some guidance on how to update the logo at the top of the page. Bev at Success Academy (talk) 18:36, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

References

Please read/respond to previous post[edit]

Good morning, and happy new year!

Before the holidays, I posted a lengthy answer to some of the criticisms of my requests for fairer language in the Success Academy entry, including additional sources (as requested). I also noted several factual errors that need correcting. As yet, none of the editors has responded. I have some serious concerns about the portrayal of Success Academy in Wikipedia and how Wikipedia's own rules and guidelines are being applied, and I believe a discussion is warranted. Thank you. Bev at Success Academy (talk) 17:08, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm a journalist too. Journalists often tell PR people that they only want an announcement about something significant that they can use. If you flood journalists with every trivial detail, their eyes just glaze over, and they ignore your press releases.
Your posts are so long that the significant points (if any) get lost.
They remind me of the story from Herodotus of how the Samians came to Sparta to beg for food. They gave a long speech. The Spartans said that they couldn't remember the first half, and could make no sense of the second half. Finally, the Samians held up a flour bag and said, "Empty." The Spartans gave them flour.
I must have spent hours trying to work on this article, when Nick Levinson owned it. He would delete all my contributions, and argue tendentiously without ever conceding a point. I wanted a balanced, objective article. He wanted to copy from Eva Moskowitz' promotional brochures.
I'm exhausted. I don't want to go through that again.
It may be unfair that Nick Levinson's POV editing spoiled it for the rest of you, but he made me reluctant to wade through a long comment like yours again and try to figure it out.
I think he made everybody cautious about another attempt to turn Wikipedia into a PR piece for Success Academy. --Nbauman (talk) 15:59, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Success Academy Parent - want to add some balance to the article[edit]

Hello, I am a Success Academy parent, and I would like to add some factual information, that is missing in the article. I realize that my format is not very Wiki-friendly, and I welcome suggestions on how to best get this info in. Yuri Brooklyn (talk) 03:08, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

POSITIVE HIGHLIGHTS (parent's point of view):[edit]

  • A field trip about every 3 weeks, throughout the year
  • 2 teachers in the classroom in elementary school
  • well stocked, take-home book library in every classroom
  • daily science lesson starting in Kindergarten
  • custom literacy and math curriculum
  • ability of a parent to drop in unannounced and sit in on the child's lessons
  • academically stronger kids are invited to skip a grade

Yuri Brooklyn (talk) 03:09, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

ADDITIONAL FACTS:[edit]

  • Each school has a Business Operations Manager (kind of like a vice-principal of ops), whose job it is to run all logistics, not directly related to teaching. That allows the principal the sole focus on the teaching methods, teaching culture and teacher training.
  • Teachers get 3 periods of prep time per day

WHAT SOME PARENTS DON'T LIKE:[edit]

  • school calendar is different from that of the DOE, making it harder to plan vacations, when an SA parent has another has child in a DOE school
  • short day on Wednesday (ending at 12:30 pm) is also difficult for working parents
  • SA does not allow school buses, making it difficult for parents who live further away, and also limiting the choice of after-schools

Yuri Brooklyn (talk) 03:08, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

CHALLENGES AND GROWING PAINS:[edit]

  • The balance between SA's rate of growth vs. their ability to train enough good teachers and principals.
  • SA network's ability to look for and react to feedback from staff and parents, as well as its employees
  • SA network's senior leadership pipeline and its ability to retain top executives.

Yuri Brooklyn (talk) 03:09, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:[edit]

Quoting Deputy Mayor of NYC Richard Buery: “One of the things that’s been the most frustrating is that the political environment around education is extraordinarily toxic,” Buery said. “It’s hard to have basic, adult, civilized conversations around these issues.” The political climate around school choice in NYC is polarized, both sides are at each other's throats, and actual facts are hard to come by.

How should I proceed?

Thanks

References:

Yuri Brooklyn (talk) 03:03, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Your material will not be added to the articles without directly supporting citations from reliable sources, which you have not provided. What you've asked to have added to the article is primarily original research, which is not allowed. BMK (talk) 03:11, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Those sources may have some limited use here, but it would be much more helpful if sources were tied to specific statements, so they could be assessed. I would also like to point out that much of this info is relatively trivial or common to many schools. Sources supporting this information must give a clear indication why these details are encyclopedically noteworthy, which, to be frank, seems very unlikely. Grayfell (talk) 03:37, 24 June 2016 (UTC)